Blonde was such a delightful movie last year that I was looking
forward to Sweet Home Alabama and another diverting comedy with Reese
‘twas not to be.
supposed to buy into the fact that Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) can run
away from her husband in the south, Jake (Josh Lucas), go to New York,
become a famous dress designer, become engaged to the phenomenally
wealthy Andrew (Patrick Dempsey), the son of the New York Mayor
(Candice Bergen), return to the south and become again involved with
Jake, even though all they ever do is fight and argue.
Andrew is an attractive, adoring, intelligent, generous man
terribly in love with Melanie. Jake
is an itinerant bum who does nothing but abuse Melanie and from whom
Melanie has already run. Yeah,
Just as in
The Banger Sisters, these storytellers seem to think the audience is
so dense that it will assume something that’s not in evidence.
In The Banger Sisters it was that the never-grown-up groupie,
Suzette, brought a philosophy that enlightened all those she
encountered, even though Suzette uttered no philosophy.
In Sweet Home Alabama the assumption is that there’s
something deep and affecting between Melanie and Jake that might
overcome the relationship between Melanie and Andrew, even though
nothing’s introduced that would warrant that conclusion.
The only things we find out about the relationship between
Melanie and Jake is that Jake was the first person to kiss her when
she was about seven years old, and that Jake went to New York after
Melanie split, looking for her. In
addition to presenting nothing that would justify affection between
her and Jake, she’s unfriendly, even cruel, to her former
acquaintances in Alabama. So
why would she consider, even for a moment, abandoning her exciting
life in New York to return to her life in Alabama?
The script certainly doesn’t explain.
Jake is yet
another unshaven lout. There seems to be an epidemic in Hollywood this year of
leading men who don’t shave. Am
I missing something? Should
we all throw away our razors? Is
this attractive? Jake’s
beard never grows and is never cut.
It always is exactly the same length.
responsible for this effort, Director Andy Tennant, scriptwriter C.
Jay Cox, and story creator Douglas J. Eboch, have a vision of the
south that’s directly out of the primer How to Write About the South
Even Though You Don’t Know Your Elbow From Third Base.
It would serve no purpose to bore you with the hackneyed
stereotypes we encounter along the lumbering way to the end of this
thing (yes, it does end, even though one begins to doubt it ever
will), but needless to say they don’t leave a cliché unturned.
nothing about this film that’s logical or believable.
The one good thing, and, believe me, it’s the only good
thing, is Candice Bergen. She
is hilarious as the hard-bitten, caustic Mayor of New York and mother
of Andrew. Unfortunately,
she’s only on the screen for, at most, ten minutes.
The 99 minutes she’s not on screen are excruciatingly